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Man charged with hate crime after allegedly attacking black woman

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – A Chester man is facing a hate crime charge after he allegedly assaulted a woman because she is black.

Chesterfield Police said Matthew Ellis pulled up next to the woman on Rivers Bend Boulevard in Chester, and started shouting at her.

After she turned onto East Hundred Road, he crashed into the rear of her vehicle and then opened the woman's door and pulled her out of the vehicle, according to police.

Police said two men tried to restrain Ellis, and the woman was able to break free and run into a nearby building where the employees locked the door.

Investigators said Ellis tried to get into the building, but three men restrained him until police arrived.

Matthew Ellis

While being arrested, Ellis spit on the officers, according to police.

Jeff Marinelli said the last time he saw Matthew Ellis roaming around his apartment complex, he felt uncomfortable and grabbed his handgun.

"The fact that he walked by me and the garage and stuff multiple times going back and forth, it was just kind of odd that he was just not going one place and staying there. He kept going back and forth stretching every single time," Marinelli said.

Still, he said he is surprised to hear that Chesterfield Police charged Ellis with a hate crime after the alleged incident.

"He seemed a little odd when I saw him a couple times, but nothing that startled me too much," Marinelli said. "It's crazy to think you're so close and you don't know people really until they do something like that."

Ellis has also been charged with abduction and kidnapping, assault and battery of a police officer/firefighter, attempted breaking and entering, reckless driving and disregarding a traffic signal.

Witnesses to the incident can send news tips and photos here.